Bones Theory

Vintage Bones: The Man in the Cell – IAYA: Cam, Epps & The Line


Good morning!

I have a couple of questions for you about this episode, and when it came down to it, I just couldn’t decide which one to ask. Why limit us, right? So let’s do this…

1. What would the series be like if Cam HAD died in this episode? How would it have affected Booth? What important later moments in the series would have gone differently?

2. Is Epps the worst? Ever? Why or why not?

3. The line. Yep. I feel like we can see realization in Brennan’s eyes in that scene. It’s not a meaningless line. She says she understands what he means, and she does. She understands what he’s saying (as we know, it will be exactly the next episode in which she finds another love interest…). It also seems clear to me that Booth is not happy about the words. I think they both know exactly what is being said there. But what do you think?

There are also some funny moments in this episode, like the Mrs. Epps stuff, when Booth tells Brennan she is not allowed to go anywhere ever, and when Brennan has a huge gun (and the subsequent “bigger is always better” conversation about ‘guns’ with Booth). So maybe there are other moments that you love. If so, drop them in the comments!


In the meantime, here is the B&B of the day:

The “Don’t worry, Booth. You are still a hero” B&B


From The Man in the Cell: Season Two



22 thoughts on “Vintage Bones: The Man in the Cell – IAYA: Cam, Epps & The Line

  1. 1. I remember Booth’s words in Alien In A Spaceship:
    BOOTH: That’s not what I thanked Him for. I thanked Him for saving…all of us. It was all of us. Every. Single. One. You take one of us away, and you and Hodgins are in that hole forever. And I’m thankful for that.

    2. As bad as Epps was, I believe the Gravedigger was worse. Epps was a horrible murderer who killed young girls and buried them. The Gravedigger snatched people from the street, buried them alive and if she didn’t get her money, she let them slowly suffocate to death in the dark, not knowing what was going on or why. At least most of Epps murder victims died quickly. I know it is a fine line; but, I just think slowly suffocating to death in the dark would be horrifying.

    3. That line did both Booth and Brennan a world of hurt. It started their spiral around each other instead of towards each other. It took Hannah’s entrance to finally stop the spiral from turning.

  2. Favorite moments (with commentary by me haha):

    BOOTH: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. You stay close, okay? A lot of these animals haven’t seen a real woman since Reagan was president.
    BRENNAN: Okay.
    (Reminds me of, “You’re staying at my place tonight”; “OK”)

    ANGELA: Hey, Zack called you short. I think you’re just the right height.
    HODGINS: Yeah?
    ANGELA: Short men have better leverage?
    ZACK: I’m feeling uncomfortable.

    BRENNAN: But I’m not unhinged. I can take care of myself.
    BOOTH: You and Epps– Okay, it’s personal. You’re everything that he hates.
    BRENNAN: And what is that exactly?
    BOOTH: Well, you know, you’re a smart, strong, confident woman. (Yes, Booth has “a type” doesn’t he?) And, uh, figured him out. You made him feel powerless so he’s gonna want to, uh, prove that, uh, you’re weak and inferior. So, you are not to go out on your own, ever. (And sigh, I love Protective Booth)

    BRENNAN: I . . . have this. (Reaching into her purse. She pulls out a very large, very shiny gun)
    ANGELA: That thing is huge. Whoa, wow. That’s like, movie huge.
    BOOTH: Where the hell did you get that?
    BRENNAN: The mall.
    BOOTH: The mall?
    BRENNAN: Yeah, it’s pretty big, right? Bigger than the one you have.
    BOOTH: Excuse me. It’s not the size that matters. It’s how you use it.
    BRENNAN: Well, I think size is pretty important.
    BOOTH: The point is that you shouldn’t have a gun in the first place!
    ANGELA: If you do have one, bigger is always better.
    BOOTH: You’re not helping! (ah hahahahahhahaha, Booth!)

    BRENNAN: Considering the relationship between you and Cam, I’d like to say the right thing, Booth . . . I don’t know what it is. Usually I’d-I’d ask you or Angela.
    BOOTH: You just said it. Thanks.

    BOOTH: I got an entire surveillance team outside your home, watching you. Why does everybody question me, right? I’m the hero!

    BOOTH: Yeah, I’m afraid I freaked him out the other day. He’s really scared of this place. Now I gotta put that right.
    BRENNAN: That’s you all over- putting things right.

    Great, great episode!

  3. Had Cam died, the line would have been more deeply etched between them because without it, someone would die. I think that’s exactly where they were going but by allowing Cam to live, the line became less and more at the same time. With her death, hope would be gone; without it, hope remains.

    It’s one of those episodes with the ticking clock counting down that makes it riveting on its own. But with the great lines and interactions between the characters, it’s really great.

  4. Completely agree with Lenora about the Gravedigger-Epps killed the people fairly quickly (it was his accomplice who dragged it out.) Although the paramedic who kidnapped the young girls and tormented with their worst fears before killing and embalming has got to be the worst in my book, along with what little we know of Hollins(?), the dude who gouged out eyes with his keys before killing the victims.

    As for Cam, the way the writers often suffer from amnesia on various plot points makes me think her death wouldn’t have had much of a long-term impact. If anything “the line” might have been made even clearer, but the B/B relationship would probably develop about the same-I mean, how much longer could you realistically postpone the inevitable? Love when Zack mentions that most of his injuries were sustained when Booth landed on top of him because apparently he’s very strong. That scene where Booth scoots everyone out and stays behind to help Zack always makes me squee, along with the almost angry relief he feels when Brennan finds Parker. Protective Booth all over the place-how can that be anything but fab!

    • I forgot that Hollins gouged out his victims eyes while they were aliive. I think he’s worse that the Gravediigger; but, not by a lot. They’re all horrible. Of course, Gormogon was no slouch himself. All in all, all the badies are very bad and Epps is no where near the top.

  5. Up until this Pellant guy, I’d have said Gravedigger was the worst villain that’s been on the show so far. Not just because of how she killed her victims but because of Taffett herself. She gave me the creeps in a way Epps never did – although he was awful.

    • I have to say the Gravedigger was worse, until they revealed who the Gravedigger was. I’m sorry, I just never bought Heather Taffett as being the Gravedigger alone. Now, Pellant, creeps me WAAAY out. He just does. He’s not an imposing figure, but neither was Norman Bates. We don’t know what is going to happen but I tend to think that Pellant is going to bring up “the line” issue for B&B again. The line HAS been crossed and left behind in the dust. So now, I think, the issue will be if they can strike a professional balance. I mean Pellant could easily play them and cause A LOT of havoc. Booth brought up “the line” because he blamed himself for Cam. Protocols were skipped because of what happened with Parker. If Pellant threatens either Booth or Brennan’s life things could get reeeaaal complicated. Twist in the Twister protect up Booth’s protectiveness but in a way that was understandable and the end left them with an understanding. But I think Pellant could bring up this issue in a far more serious way for both of them.

      • I agree, Camcat, about Heather Taffett. Now if we find she had an accomplice (which I doubt we ever will–writers amnesia!) I could buy into it. But that woman did not drag a dead-weight Booth by herself from his apartment to a ship! Or somehow bury a car with both Brennan and Hodgins in it by herself. No way.

        Also I thought Gormogon was a great arc, with the secret society things and the twisted skeleton….but they blew it for me with the whole random Zach thing and that Gormogon was a nobody whom we learning about and we did not even hear speak. And was killed in a montage. Blech.

        Anyway…I think all the serial killer arcs have been interesting and creepy, but they resolve them unsatisfactorily to me. Epps was probably the best killer ending. He leaves all these questions in the air, like did Booth really let him go? Did he basically commit suicide and leave Booth to deal with the emotional fallout? To me, the questions that were left in regards to Booth made Epps the most interesting arc ending Bones has had. They started doing that with the Gravedigger by giving Hodgins that fear and drive to capture his kidnapper, but they dropped that like a hot potato :).

        Here’s hoping that we get an interesting and satisying arc as well as ending with Pellant!

        PS. Also, I thought Fat Pam would have made an amazingly creepy stalker/serial killer as she tries to get to Booth or something. I kind of would have liked to see more of that. But, having Brennan take her out with one shot was pretty nifty 🙂

      • Ooohhh, sounds good to me. And that montage where the names are circled while he makes some sort of implement as B/B enjoy “their moment” in the mighty hut has Pellant looking creepy indeed. Can’t wait.

        By the way, you and bb are totally right about the Gravedigger; if you dwell on the logistics of what she did even for a tiny moment, it’ll make your head hurt-so I don’t. An accomplice would have ultimately added a lot more suspense to the whole series, as would have giving Gormogon more by way of a backstory. I always think that Bones is like grandma’s jewelry box; a little of everything mashed together and a lot of good, interesting stuff that never gets worn again. I’m usually surprised whenever I see an old plot point reused, because other than some aspects of the character’s lives, most interesting side info is seldom picked up again. Actually, the props department is often better at continuity than the writers. I blame it in part on the fact that so many different people write the scripts; sometimes it feels that no one is really overseeing the big picture. No real anger here-just a bit of annoyance.

  6. I can’t even imagine what would have happened if Cam had died. Presumably they’d have found another coroner, perhaps instead of rotating interns we’d have had rotating coroners? It’s hard to get rid of a character with important ties to the surviving characters and not have that impact them for a considerable time. Booth was guilty enough with just her near-death!

    And now the line..ah, the line.

    Let me preface this by saying: my following comments are NOT a critique of the show. A TV show is a living thing, it succeeds by adapting to changing circumstances. I firmly believe that it took six seasons for B&B to get together because the show lasted that long. That had the show not been renewed at any earlier point, they’d have gotten together earlier. I do not think we’d have interviews with HH saying “well, if we hadn’t been cancelled in season 3, Booth & Brennan would have danced around each other for three more years, she’d ask for his sperm, he’d have a brain tumor, yadda yadda yadda, a blonde reporter, he tragic death of an intern,and boom Mama Bones.”

    So looking at season 2 through “in the moment”, “show might not last another year” eyes, not “that was 4/5 seasons ago” eyes, I see a Brennan who is absolutely interested in a relationship and Booth is her first choice.

    She was very interested in his getting back with Rebecca in Truth in the Lye and most relieved when he ended it. And quite flirtatious in that final scene! The whole Tony/Roxy ass-slapping hanging all over each other in Vegas was a flirtation that I do not think Brennan would have participated in had she known Booth was involved with Cam. When she does find out he’s involved with Cam, she’s quiet and thoughtful, then immediately accepts a date with an ax murdered. I don’t think her tears over the ax-murderer are just about him. “I sure can pick ’em” is not just about that night, IMO. Not that Booth is on par with the killer brother but I just can’t see her crying over one date.

    Sarah, I think you are absolutely right that they both understand what’s being said on that bench. It’s no coincidence that the Sully arc starts in the next episode. I also think that the end of that arc and Brennan’s “But I miss so much” comment to Angela was a precursor to “The Great Mac and Cheese Moment of 2007” and that by the time of Glowing Bones in the Old Stone House Brennan was again interested in a relationship, with Booth as her first (and only) choice. .

    • Barbara, I really like the way you remind me to think back to how the show was at the time it aired during these discussions, because I think looking at them with the hindsight of the following 4 seasons totally changes what I take from them. I agree with you, the show lives in one year at a time (apart from when they got renewed for two, when they had a clear two year plan). The master plan in season two was how to get a season three and so on. There’s no planning for 3 years down the line.

      With regards to the serial killers, I love all the Epps episodes (they are just classic Bones, what I fell in love with) I watch them often actually. He creeps me out completely, because with him I felt it really was personal – he genuinely enjoyed messing with their heads and he hated Brennan. I think it’s the misogyny of Epps that I find particularly malevolent, when he talks about how there’s ‘no such thing as an innocent woman’ it makes me shudder.

      I’m not sure how the show would have been different had Cam died, but I’m so pleased she didn’t. To be honest, the ‘line’ evolving out of what happened to her doesn’t make sense really. Epps didn’t purposely target her because of her relationship with Booth – he didn’t even know who he’d hurt to start with and the fact that Booth yelled at her and convinced her to skip protocol could have happened regardless of whether they were sleeping together – they’ve been friends for over a decade, she’d probably have done it for him either way. The line was another convenience to keep them apart for a while, but yes, Brennan knew that he was referring to them as much as anything.

      PS: There are a few reasons why I love this episode – one is when Hodgins and Zach keep calling Booth back into the lab and he threatens to shoot them, the look on his face when he slowly walks back in a final time is classic Booth ha.
      Also, when they are in Brennan’s office and Booth has to remind them that he’s a hero, the way he’s hunched in his chair, looking all innocent, with the massive tanned arms in the black t-shirt? Nice.Very nice.

  7. I always call BS on the “line” because Booth was fine about Cam after she recovered. He’s almost joking about being the hero after the building explodes with him and Zack in it. It’s not until he freaks out about watching Epps fall that he decides it’s too dangerous to be in a relationship with someone he works with. Epps was never coming after Booth, he was coming after the people around Brennan. He targeted the lab starting with Angela and moved on down the line. It would have been more in keeping with the storyline for Brennan to draw a line since she was the original target.

    Brennan definitely got what Booth was saying when they were on the bench. It’s amazing how astute the writers allowed her to be in Season 2, then all the backpeddling they had to do when the show kept getting picked up. *Sigh*

    Bad guys-Epps, Gravedigger, Pellant they all make my skin crawl because they’re so inherently evil. They don’t care who they kill to get what they want-whether it’s recognition by proving who’s the smartest(Epps & Pellant) or money (Gravedigger). All of them had me looking over my shoulder and making sure my doors were locked.

  8. I concur with most of the comments already made – can’t pick the worst baddy. They were all horrible IMO.
    I don’t think what happened to Cam would have happened to Brennan. Brennan would fight tooth and nail to follow whatever protocol she deems right and will not be rushed. Herein lies the difference between Brennan and Cam IMO. Cam is emotional and she let that get the better of her. Brennan would have been clinical and strict about the whole thing which would have annoyed Booth but she would have remained safe all the same. Drawing a line was Booth’s way of saying he did not know what to do but would rather be safe than sorry.
    Brennan had already figured out Epps next step and was waiting for him in her appartment even before Booth got there so she can actually protect herself sometimes whenever she figures out the problem on time. The new Pellant arc will be interesting in the respect that if he threatens the Booth family, will they be able to work it out quickly enough so that each one of them is ready as individuals to tackle him?

    • I always thought Cam was an idiot not to put a mask on. Zack had one. It would have taken her 2 seconds to do it and wouldn’t really have made any kind of time difference. Of course, then we wouldn’t have the Booth Blame Game or her brush with death, but I never thought either one of those things was necessary to the storyline. That’s always bugged me about Cam. Very often she’s cutting off the top of skulls or doing God knows what and she doesn’t have a mask and glasses on. I know that’s so we can all see Tamaras’ pretty face, but it doesn’t fit with the most basic OSHA regulations. That’s a giant ‘hand wave’ moment for me.

      • Totally Lisa. After her near death experience, she still cut into remains without a mask on several times. Her beauty will amount to nothing if she winds up dead. 🙂
        She also tells Hodgins off anytime he does an experiment – double standards methinks….

      • There are scenes in episodes before this one where Cam IS wearing a mask during her autopsies, so it’s all very inconsistent. The fact that she’s not wearing a mask while using an oscillating cutting into skull had me was mindboggling for me when I first saw this episode. I’ve watched enough Dr. G Medical Examiner episodes to know how easily it is for oscillating saws to cut into brain if you’re not careful! You don’t want brain splatter all over your pretty face, Cam! 😛

      • I love Dr. G Medical Examiner!!! I recently discovered it…and it was a marathon…so I watched autopsies all day!

        Hey, its a Bones hiatus! Next best thing I suppose 🙂

      • Exactly Firefly! We knew Cam had worn masks before so why now when she’s picking some kind of unknown substance out of the poor victims hair would she not have had proper safety gear on? They all knew there was a psycho out there. It made no sense then-it was just so blatant they might as well as put a neon sign over Cam’s head that she would get poisoined!

    • Also, she just goes ahead and cuts. Why didn’t she do the x-ray at least. That wouldn’t have taken very much time. She could have skipped over the rest of the visual inspection, then done the x-ray. This would have allowed her to proceed more quickly but without unnecessary risk to anyone.

      But, of course, we have to throw up a wall between B&B, so someone had to get hurt so that line could be drawn — and be convincing to Brennan.

      Worst serial killer? Epps was beyond creepy, but Taffet was able to pass herself off as an AUSA and use that office to help her commit her crimes. That makes her much more frightening to me. Epps figured out how to avoid the system, but Taffet actually became part of the system and then co-opted it to her evil purposes.

      The new big bad seems to be the scariest of all.

  9. Worst baddy for me is Epps by far. It takes a different level of evil to cut your wife’s head off while they’re still alive and prop it up in the fridge like a decoration versus putting an unconscious person who can’t fight back in a vessel underground and then forgetting about them. The Gravedigger was smart, but she was a coward, and her victims’ deaths were nothing but an abstract concept to her.

    • A little late to the discussion – but I love what everyone wrote.

      Firefly, I totally agree with what you’re saying about Epps. He was the most malicious by far – as it seemed that he had absolutely no qualms about murdering his victims. It takes a seriously damaged person to do something so horrid with no emotional repercussions. The only time you sense anything but pleasure from him was when he realized Brennan knew he’d be in her apartment, and when he felt his hand slipping from Booth’s grasp (and even then, only a split second). He is the most terrifying IMO.

      As for the line, aghhhh. I feel like all the years after that, Brennan’s pretty little genius brain saw these moments (think to Rebecca’s speech in The Truth in the Lye) that they could have had a chance and she thought back to that one thing he said that one time. Between Brennan’s insistence that he would not want another work-relationship and Booth’s insistence that she wouldn’t want it/whatever other ridiculous guilty reasons he had, it was no wonder they couldn’t get it together until VNM’s death.

  10. Sarah, words cannot express how much I love your reviews of all the Bones episodes…I didn’t think I could possible love the show more until I started reading your blog. I can’t seem to find any of your reviews past the middle of season 6…am I missing something? Have you reviewed the rest of season 6 and are you writing reviews for season 7?

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